Friday, September 3, 2010

Bovine & Balls

Chocolate milk cow.
Which came first - the cow or the clothes?
My husband does not go to fairs or carnivals - ever - which is kind of ironic since he saw like 300 Grateful Dead shows, and really, what were those other than carnivals with music and hallucinogenics? Whatever.  I've grown accustomed to the idea that I am the boys' only hope if they want to eat fried dough, gawk at animals and get their feet impossibly dirty.  So, it was off to Syracuse and the NYS Fair for us on a recent sweltering day.  Fortunately, my brother lives in Syracuse and is usually up for a Fair visit.  And he has a pool.  Bonus!

After our recent visit to the Great Escape, I was a little apprehensive about what the crowd was going to be like.  I probably can't say this without sounding impossibly snobby, but... sometimes fairs attract a crowd long on Nascar gear and short on teeth.  I don't know how to break it to you, nor what the social ramifications are for the greater Capital Region, but the folks at the fair definitely were a better looking group than those we mingled with in Lake George.  Just saying.  And we weren't even there on Justin Bieber night.  

Mint chocolate milk!
I don't know if you've been to this annual fair, but it is really big.  The weather being what it was (95+), we decided to linger at my brother's pool rather than make any attempt at doing the fair in a comprehensive way.  In all honesty, we just wanted to get some greasy fair food and maybe take in a few exhibits, and a couple of the more sturdily put together looking rides.  We splurged on the $10 parking across the street rather than the $3 parking across the tracks (literally) and were at the gate, and in,  5 minutes later.  Under twelves are admitted free, so it was just $20 for me and three boys to get in.  Did I mention my brother is a doctor?  He paid his own way.  

I swear it wasn't our plan, but somehow, like always,  we began our fair experience by visiting the Bovine Barn.  It actually may not be called that exactly, but that's how we like to think of it.  The smell is pretty intense, and you have to be careful where you step, but we always enjoy seeing the beautiful cows - and they have the most awesome milk machine ever.  Flavored milk is also the perfect beverage to coat a stomach before the real fair food gets consumed - gourmet items like bar-b-q pork sandwiches, locally made sausage heroes and fried pierogi with onions.  Yum.  And, since we are all fans of bringing things full circle, the natural conclusion to a fair feeding frenzy is... ice cream.  Although I did not take photos of any of the food we ate, don't be fooled  - it was the reason we were there.
Boy in a bubble.
Getting his balance.

I fully expected to be sucked into visiting the midway for some cheesy rides, but the boys weren't really interested, at least not after they spent some quality time in these European Bubble Ball things.  I hesitated a moment before shelling out $8 per child for their opportunity to potentially suffocate in  public, but, I must admit, I felt like we all got our money's worth.  It was a bit disturbing to watch two of my children climb into un-inflated plastic balls in a pool of water (particularly in a world which consistently warns that plastic bags are not toys!), but the folks in charge of the attraction were very nice and gave the boys a very long time to practice their best hamster moves.  And they were so damn hot and tired when they finally were released from their plastic pods, that cutting out and going back to Uncle Tom's for a swim was more appealing than hitting up the midway.  Perfect!  Excellent value for $16. 

While we didn't begin to see everything - or even very much of anything, we had a great time and will hopefully expand our explorations next year by venturing into more of the display areas and perhaps going with an actual agenda.  And, of course, if the weather is more inviting, we'll try to get an earlier start so we can enjoy lunch and dinner at the fair.

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